Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Water Sprouts

If only fruit trees would expend more energy on fruit production and less on growth. Every year I'm amazed at how many water sprouts are removed from each of the trees I prune.

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Water sprouts are those new branches that grow strait up, 6-10 feet in length during a single growing season. They are pretty hard to miss. Just look at this tree before it was pruned.

Apple Tree With Lots of Water Sprouts

Water Sprouts

We have all heard the saying, "It's hard to see the forest through the trees." When pruning, it's hard to see the tree through the forest of water sprouts. 

When looking at a tree that needs to be pruned, it can be overwhelming to see all of the branches and to decide which of them needs to be removed and which ones should remain. One of the easiest steps to pruning fruit trees is to just grab your pruning shears and thin the water sprouts. After that, half the battle is done, but it's important to know the difference between fruit trees that develop their fruit on spurs, like apples and pears, and fruit trees that develop fruit on watersprouts, like peaches, apricots, and cherries.

Water sprouts can be prevented with summer pruning, and in some instances a pruning in the fall might make more sense. Your tree will respond differently to your pruning according to the time of year that you do the pruning.

Thanks for reading! For more information regarding fruit tree care and pruning, please join our Backyard Fruit Growers Facebook Group and subscribe to our Fruit Pruning YouTube Channel. If you are new to pruning, take this 9 Lesson Pruning Course.

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